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Shipping heir Thomas Wilhelmsen rejects buyout offers from cousins

Thomas Wilhelmsen, CEO of Wilhelmsen Group. Photo: Wilhelmsen Group

PortandTerminal.com, September 20, 2020

OSLO, NORWAY – Last week, Norwegian daily Dagens Næringsliv reported that cousins and aunts from three branches of the Wilhelmsen family had offered NOK1bn ($353m) to try and get the current head of the family-run shipping group, Thomas Wilhelmsen, to step down from all his roles at the diverse conglomerate.

Wilhelmsen took the reins at the family’s holding company via his holding of A shares following the suicide of his father, Wilhelm Wilhelmsen, in February this year.

The daughters of the late shipowner Wilhelm Wilhelmsen’s sisters and brother want greater influence over their share of the values ​​in the companies. They believe it is unreasonable that one of the four family branches, which all originally inherited equal parts, should control the entire business through A shares.

Blond woman smiling. White shirt. Cathrine Løvenskiold Wilhelmsen
Cathrine Løvenskiold Wilhelmsen represents the ownership interests in the family companies belonging to three of the four family branches; shipowner Wilhelm Wilhelmsen’s two sisters and their descendants and the daughter of his deceased brother Finn Wilhelmsen.

Thomas Wilhelmsen is said to have rejected a buyout offer from his cousins saying instead that he was willing to buy out one of the aunts and cousins.

“Selling our shares is not relevant for us “, writes Thomas Wilhelmsen in an email to Dagens Næringsliv. Instead, he says he will discuss exit options for the other three family branches.

Expect to see more coverage of this ongoing family feud.

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